Tray Matchbox Car Organizer – DIY Monthly Challenge

Howdy, folks!  It’s that time again for our…. (cue announcer voice) MONTHLY DIY CHALLENGE!!! (challengechallenge) <- echo.

updated January challenge picture

For any newbies, this is a challenge that several awesome bloggy friends and I team up for each month.  The rules are simple… we’re assigned an item and must make something with it.   Easy peasy.   This month’s theme was to use baskets, boxes, or bins for an organizing project.

Like most months, it took me a while to pin-point exactly what I wanted to create for my project.   I hemmed and hawed, and finally one day last week, I remembered these fantastic metal trays that I’d purchased from Target a few months back…

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….. for (drum roll please)…

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$2.98 a pop!!  I pretty much did the happy-dance right there by the clearance end-cap when I found them.   And then proceeded to possessively shove all remaining trays into my cart and make for the hills.   I took six of these babies home that day.  SIX!!   Two are currently residing in various parts of the house, but I still had these four little guys to find homes for.

Now, I’ll be honest… When it comes to organizing, I dub our home’s progress as “sub-par”.    We’ve been so busy working on larger projects since moving in 2.5 months ago that organization has sort of fallen to the wayside.  There isn’t a single space in this house that has reached the point of organization.   It’ll definitely get there once all the larger players are in place (painted walls, larger decor pieces, etc), but for now… well, suffice it to say that I had my fill of choices as to where to utilize my kick-bootie trays.

Ultimately, Lucas’s room won out, though.   His space is the closest to complete (though definitely not there yet).  The more finished a space is, the easier it is for me to visualize and create useful storage solutions that make sense.  Plus, he has a lot of toys.  Most of which are piled in the closet. And drive me crazy every time I walk in there. Thus, I decided to tackle the beast one Matchbox car at a time.

Ya see, my light bulb moment occurred when I realized that my trays were the perfect depth to serve as matchbox car shelves if I were to simply mount them to the wall.  Having my project decision finally made, I completed yet another happy-dance and got going.

Upon examination, I realized that my trays had a raised ridge along the back, which made hanging difficult.   After mulling over a solution, I decided that the best course of action was to hot glue several layers of heavy-duty cardboard…

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…to the back of the trays to create a little “plateau” that would be even with the ridge…

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These would act as mounting blocks for some Command picture hanging strips…

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 Next, I needed to determine placement for my trays, so I created templates by tracing the trays onto brown paper…

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I cut them out and adhered them to the wall with tape (as is demonstrated by this fantastically crummy picture)…

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I played around with placement and once I was satisfied, I marked the location of my templates with a pencil.  Then, I made a more precise vertical line along one side with a level.   This was my guide to ensure that my trays were stacked exactly above one another (P.S. I erased it later)…

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The rest was as simple as following the instructions on the back of the Command box and adhering my trays the wall…

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Next, I decided to add a little more color and function to fill the spot to the left of the trays.   I simply hung this neat orange hook (also found on clearance for $1.78) next to my trays for some hanging storage…

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I added Lucas’s matchbox cars, aaaaaand here’s the final product…

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And the corner of the room, complete with his Ninja Turtle bulls-eye game…

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And a farther shot of this side of his room with the new addition…

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There’s still WAY more to come on these walls, but hey… progress is progress. And I’m totally content with progress. I still need to add art above the head of his bed (and possibly shift that bicycle print down a bit) as well as incorporate a few other decorative elements to help tie everything together.  In any case, though, I really have to thank my bloggy friends for this one.   Honestly, I’m not sure I would’ve thought to create this if I hadn’t been pushed to do so with this challenge.   And I LOOOOVE it.  And so does Lucas.  He was so excited when he saw it.  He immediately began rearranging the cars and has been playing with them much more frequently now that they’re in plain sight.  Total Win-Win if you ask me.

So, with that, I give you the lovely projects created by my fellow bloggers.  Do yourself a favor and check them out!

TDC Before and After
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November DIY Challenge: Wood Slice Tray

Howdy all!   Today I have a fun treat for you guys… remember The Great Crate Challenge that I participated in a few months ago??   Well, this month, I’m partnering with some of the same amazing bloggers, plus a few more for another fun challenge!   It was the same premise as last time, but this go-around, the required material was wood slices!

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Mission: Just make something with them

This was the only rule.

Now, I’ll be honest… I had no idea what to create.  I meandered around The store for what seemed like forever, just pacing the aisles.   Staring at all of the glorious craft supplies with nary an idea to be found.  After about 45 minutes, I began losing hope and thinking of all of the cookies that I could be consuming at that very moment.  Which is when this wood slice magically appeared before me…

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It wasn’t the traditional round shape, which I liked.  The squareness and cleaner lines definitely were more my bag.   And that’s when it happened.   This very special little wood slice and my undying love for trays joined forces.  And I realized that not only would I make a tray… I already had everything else I needed at home!  It was my very own Dorothy-Wizard-of-Oz moment.  If I’d only had my ruby slippers the entire time.   So, I adopted this badboy and took him home.

Now, remember that awesome hardware that I used on my children Brightey Whitey cabinets??   And how I mentioned that they came in a 6-pack, but I’d only used four for that project??  Well, never have I been so happy to have excess materials.  Those pulls were PERFECT!   I began the drawer pull installation by marking the center of the wood slice…

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Then, I used this handy-dandy tool to mark where my holes would go (for a detailed tutorial on installing drawer pulls click here)….

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And I drilled….

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Which was followed by an epic Womp!Womp! when I realized that I’d marked the center incorrectly on one side, thus my holes were off by a good half-inch.   Oy.   I know that I should’ve known better than that… “Measure twice, drill once, Christina. Sheesh!”, but alas, I got cocky.  Note: NEVER get cocky.  It’ll never cease to bite you in the rear…

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Fortunately, the metal pulls hid my mistake without my having to take further action, so I was good to go.  Total happy accident, for sure.   Next, I taped off the raw wood edges, and applied two thin and even coats of white paint with an eggshell finish…

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And I attached my drawer pulls.  You can see the tray at this point in time in the shot below.  I liked it well enough as it was, but ultimately decided that it needed a little something extra.  A bit of pizazz, if you will.  After tossing around ideas like our initials and such, I decided to go with something more organic and personal.   Lucas’s hand-print.   I simply spread some blue craft paint on a paper plate…

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Stamped Lucas’s hand in it and applied his hand-print to the tray in an off-center orientation…

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Which left this…

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Not too shabby for a total cost of around $10 (The wood slice with a 30% off coupon), eh?   I’m really happy with it and almost a little surprised at how much I love it.    And I adore that Lucas got to be involved.  It’s now not just a simple DIY project, it’s a keepsake.    I plan to write the date and Lucas’s age on back so I’ll never forget.  If you plan to use the tray for beverages or anything moist, be sure to seal it with three thin coats of Polycrylic.   The crystal clear formula will ensure that the white paint wont yellow.  I haven’t done this yet, as I’m only using it for decorative (read: dry) purposes, but I plan on on sealing it to be sure that Lucas’s hand-print is forever preserved.

Update: I forgot to mention when I published this post that this will be a monthly challenge, so tune in the second Wednesday of every month!!!  December’s item will be clear glass ornaments.  I’d better get that thinking cap on… 🙂

So, that’s my wood slice project!  Now, check out the awesome projects created by my fellow bloggers…

TDC Before and After